Eagle feathers are considered sacred to the Nation. ANISAH ABDULLAH
"No Trespassing" signs were posted by the Shinnecock Indian Nation at the sites of both billboards being constructed along Sunrise Highway. ANISAH ABDULLAH
The Town Board room in Southampton Town Hall was packed on Tuesday night with individuals supporting the town’s plan to purchase a small group of parcels that sit on nearly 10 acres in Shinnecock Hills, and which most recently housed the Lobster Grille Inn.
Officials hope to use the property as a combination of public marina, shellfish hatchery and preserved space, but possibly leaving room for a small privately-owned restaurant.
A pair of public hearings were held on the proposed land acquisition—one on the town’s purchase, and another to purchase the development rights for the land that Manna Fish Farms will occupy.
The town plans to spend up to $4.6 million on its portion of the property, and up to $3 million to acquire the development rights from the other parcel.
By purchasing the development rights, it ensures that the land will always be used for aquaculture or farming purposes.
Both hearings were closed on Tuesday, and later that night Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman was authorized to go into a contract for sale for the property, which is owned by Peconic Bay Marina LLC and Peconic Bay Residence LLC.
During the public hearings, Donna Lanzetta, owner of Manna Fish Farms, urged the Town Board to go forward with the purchase. She explained that the aquaculture system would help the marine environment and she hopes for it to be used for education purposes for students at East Quogue Elementary.
Aquaculture is used to produce an environmentally responsible source of food—with no chemicals—and it helps to create healthier habitats and to help rebuild stocks of threatened or endangered species.
Some of the fish in her fish farm will include Striped bass, steelhead trout and seed kelp schools.
A farmhouse on the property—which is in a residential zone—will house interns and or visiting scientists as needed. Ms. Lanzetta stressed on Tuesday night that it will never be rented out to the public.
“It’s not going to be any kind of party or group house or anything like that,” Ms. Lanzetta said.
She will be purchasing a 4.75-acre piece of the property for $843,000, she said.
Several members of the public, including people who live in homes neighboring the property, stood in support of the project during the public hearings. They liked that the property would be preserved to protect the environment and that a small seafood restaurant would operate on the property.
Some concerns were aired about potential water contamination from the farming, but Ms. Lanzetta was quick to qualm those fears. She reassured the public that she would be operating a “zero discharge system” that would not put any harmful materials into the water.
If the town didn’t purchase the property, the land would have been at risk for the development. A listing for the property—held by David Donohue of Douglas Elliman in Southampton—markets the property as a “development opportunity with options,” noting that the land could house 13 luxury homes or 25 townhouses.
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